12 Podcasts That Are Basically Game Shows
The best podcasts are super engaging, and there’s nothing more engaging than a game show. The best game show podcasts can make you feel like you’re on the hot seat—these podcasts test your smarts, get your competitive juices flowing, and your adrenaline pumping. You might not learn anything useful (except when you do!), and there might not always be a winner, but sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination.
On Meddling Adults, Mike Schubert invites funny guests to compete on one of the silliest game shows in existence, challenging them to solve the mysteries found inside the pages of Encyclopedia Brown, on episodes of Scooby Doo, and more. It’s always a funny conversation about storytelling, and cracking a case that is sometimes super easy to solve, sometimes nearly impossible—and treating these silly stories with such seriousness is what makes it a truly fun listen. Each episode takes you through a few stories and back to your childhood, and winners see money sent to a charity of their choice.
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Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
Pappy’s Flatshare is a hub for a few different series, but if you’re looking for something playful, check out their award-winning live panel game show Flatshare Slamdown, in which they play silly games with famous names from the world of comedy. (Previous guests include Aisling Bea, Nish Kumar, Sara Pascoe, James Acaster, Kerry Godliman, and many more.) This is the game show driven by comedy that feels like theater, with original songs and skits, all done in front of a live audience, so you feel the excitement. The games played are hilarious, regardless of outcome, because they’re completely unique.
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
Some of our funniest comedians, actors, and luminaries make a stop on NPR’s long-lived weekly news quiz. Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me will test your news knowledge knowledge with fun segments like Who’s Bill This Time? (Bill Curtis reads quotes from the week’s news), Panel Questions, Bluff the Listener, Not My Job, and Lightning Fill-in-the-Blank. Playwright and actor Peter Sagal is the ringleader for comforting regular segments mixed up with enough deviations to keep things fresh and surprising. Midweek, you’ll find Everyone & Their Mom on the same feed, as host Emma Choi takes a story in the zeitgeist and uses it as an excuse to hang out with culture makers.
Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts is a blind dating game show hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumn Jujubee that guides singles through a series of sexy games and challenges to see if they can find their mate. There’s always one chief contestant who meets three daters to choose from, but because this is a podcast, they have to use their voices and their wits rather than their looks to woo the person on the hot seat. Tons of fun games connect queer, straight, poly, and pan people, and everyone between. Jujubee keeps things spicy.
Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast
Hello kids in the car! If you’re looking for something the whole family can listen to together, check out Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast, brought to you by Brittany and Meredith who test your knowledge in pop culture, video games, geography, Disney, Harry Potter, science, Star Wars, and more, every week. It’s a game you can play along with that will make long car trips more bearable and even breakfast time more fun. Episodes are grouped into themes that are often sent in by listeners.
Six Unseemly Questions
On Six Unseemly Questions, Victor Varnado (Conan, VICE) and Shakir Standley ask an interview subject—someone from the worlds of film, TV, or media, or just someone off the street—six probing questions, and score them on their responses. The prize for winning? $5. Questions like “should people be afraid of clowns?” and “what is your opinion on unicorns?” leave matters up for debate, and the resulting discussions are always funny and fresh.
On Fourplay, contestants are given four different sets of four words in two-minute intervals and are challenged to find the connections between the words in each set, and then the connection between the sets themselves. Episodes are short and host Carmela Smith is the puzzle/word nerd who keeps things moving along. Play along to see if you can solve the connection before the contenstants do. (It’s truly satisfying.)
On Troubled Waters host Dave Holmes pits comedians against other comedians to see who knows more about current events, pop culture, and seemingly pointless things like emo song titles, IKEA product names, and underwater civilizations. Dave is a skilled host (he’s a former MTV VJ) and is able to bring out the funny in all of his guests, making the stakes feel both high and incredibly low at the same time. It’s a fun competition that will have you laughing and learning, even if you’re learning about stuff like puppets and She-Hulk.
The Great American Pop Culture Quiz Show
The Great American Pop Culture Quiz Show is a perfectly paced, nicely produced quiz show that offers three fun rounds of trivia designed to challenge your pop culture brain in movies, TV, and music. The tourney-style competition allows you to cheer on your favorite contestant as they progress towards the season championship match, which makes the whole thing feel interactive—especially if you’re one of those people who can’t help but scream out the answers while you’re listening along. You can even apply to become a contestant yourself (full disclosure: Lifehacker Deputy Editor Joel Cunningham has been on the show.)
Ask Me Another
Ask Me Another isn’t releasing new episodes any longer, but there’s an entire library of past trivia-packed installments available for you to binge. Ophira Eisenberg (now hosting the podcast Parenting Is a Joke) and musician Jonathan Coulton load contestants onto a roller coaster of puzzles, facts, laughter, and song that will make you feel part of the upbeat experience—shows were recorded before a live audience, so you’ll feel like you’re in the front seat. Ophira is an expert host, Jonathan is a talented musician, and the trivia writers unearth some great fodder for the show.
On Dr. Gameshow, Jo Firestone and Manolo Moreno bring in callers from all over the world—and of all ages—to play original listener-created games “Lights, Camera, Action Figure,” “I Carrot Believe My Ears,” “I Am the Tenth Dentist,” “Rated D for Dolly Parton,” and “Dr. Themesong,” all of which are just as nutty as they sound. The rules don’t always make sense, but the show is honestly better when they don’t. Kid callers tend to be the ones who come up with some of the wackiest scenarios, and they are even passed the mic to play along with Jo and Manolo.
What is, the podcast with all the answers? It’s Inside Jeopardy, where the producers of everyone’s favorite TV quiz show share an inside look into gameplay analysis and behind-the-scenes stories, to official announcements and special interviews. Whether you’ve been on the show or are a couch competitor, Inside Jeopardy will make you feel a part of the excitement week after week.
Tell Me About It
Tell Me About It is the newest entry on the list, a madcap game show about proving that the things you like are actually interesting, hosted by Adal Rifai (Hello From the Magic Tavern, Hey Riddle Riddle) and Eric Silver (host of Games and Feelings, DM of Join the Party, and head of creative at Multitude). Adal takes on the role of an eccentric billionaire and the world’s biggest fan of the movie Grease, determined to prove that 1978 movie musical is the single most interesting and cool thing ever. He has wrangled Eric, who plays his butler/manservant/podcast producer, to create a game show to test this theory. In every episode, a guest comes on to describe and defend their favorite thing (could be a piece of media, a subject, a hobby, or anything else). The guest competes in a series of games and challenges, with Eric serving as umpire and Adal judging and awarding points based on contestants’ performances. Think of it as a friendly (if unhinged) conversational podcast meets “The Most Dangerous Game.”
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